Imam Baqir’s (a.s.) debate on the permissibility of Mut’ah

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One of the objections of the opponents against the Shias is they have innovated in religious practices such as making permissible temporary marriage (mut’ah). One of their objections against mut’ah is that it is not permissible since the infallible Imams (a.s.) never permitted it for their daughters.


The permissibility of mut’ah is widely acknowledged in the Holy Quran, reliable Sunnah and practice of companions but the scope of the article does not permit us to delve in detail over here.

As regards the infallible Imams (a.s.) and their view on mut’ah, we refer an interesting debate on the subject.

It is reported that Abdullah Ibn Ma’mar al-Laythiyya challenged Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) – I have been informed that you permit the temporary marriage (mut’ah).

Imam (a.s.) – Allah permits it in his Book and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) tradition (Sunnah) affirms it and the companions acted on it.

Abdullah: However, Umar prohibited it.

Imam (a.s.) – You are on the instruction of your companion and I am on the tradition of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Abdullah – Are you satisfied to see your women indulge in it?

Imam (a.s.) – There is no need for bringing women in this discussion, O idiot. Surely the one who has legalized it in His Book and has permitted it for His Servants has more jealousy (with regards women engaging in mut’ah) than you and the one who has vociferously prohibited it (Umar). Rather, would you be pleased with one of your women marrying one of the weavers of Medina?

Abdullah: No!

Imam (a.s.): Why do you deem it impermissible while Allah has permitted it?

Abdullah: I do not deem it impermissible but a weaver has no (eligible) partner.

Imam (a.s.): Surely Allah is pleased with his action and desires it (for him). And he will marry him to a houri. Then you should desire what Allah desires and seek a partner for the one who will partner the fairy of the gardens of Paradise.

Abdullah laughed and said: Nothing is gathered in your chest except the planting places of trees of knowledge. They are fruits for you and sustenance for the people.

  • Behaar al-Anwaar vol. 46 p. 356 from Kashf al-Ghummah of Ali Ibn Moosa Irbili (r.a.) (exp. 693 A.H.)

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